Philadelphia Postsecondary Success Program

The Philadelphia Postsecondary Success Program of The Philadelphia Education Fund is a collaborative initiative designed to increase the number of low-income and first-generation public high school students who enroll and succeed in postsecondary education. In 2008, FHI 360 teamed up with the Citi Foundation to launch the Citi Postsecondary Success Program, working with three local education funds in Philadelphia, Miami, and San Francisco for five years. Our continued work in Philadelphia is made possible with the support of Chubb. Today, the Philadelphia Postsecondary Success Program (PPSP) has grown from working with four schools to working with the following schools:

* Benjamin Franklin High School
* Thomas Edison High School
* John Bartram High School
* Frankford High School
* Kensington Creative & Performing Arts
* Kensington High School
* Fels High School
* Kensington Health Sciences Academy
* Martin Luther King High School
* Overbrook High School
* Penn Treaty High School
* School of the Future
* West Philadelphia HighSchool
* Olney Charter High School
* Paul Robeson High School
* Roxborough High School

The key work includes coordinating and aligning services that support college preparation, contributing to school-wide college readiness cultures, and involving student and parents in planning for college beginning in the ninth grade.

Since 2008, a unique and powerful public/private partnership between the Ed Fund, The School District of Philadelphia and several local colleges/universities, has demonstrated that the major obstacle standing between our students and postsecondary success is the  ability to create a clear pathway of supports and services for all students. PPSP has developed partnerships of stakeholders from K-12, community-based organizations, postsecondary institutions, and the business, foundation and civic sectors to improve access to college for low-income and public high school students. A few highlights of PPSP accomplishments include:

* Earning the Regional Challenges Collaboration Honor from Talent Greater Philadelphia 

* Pioneering the use of the medical “rounds” concept to connect secondary and postsecondary educators.

* A rise in college enrollment up across the four PPSP schools for seniors in the following three cohorts:

2010: 22% | 2011: 21% | 2012: 33%

* Establishing postsecondary readiness activities as part of freshmen orientation in high school.

* Establishing a  system of convening school resource partners who collaboratively manage postsecondary readiness activities

OMG - Center for Collaborative Learning, the national evaluator for the initiative, in its five-year report, indicated several successful outcomes of the PPSP: 

* The number of students applying to and planning to attend college rose, providing evidence of increased college-going interest and action among students.

* School level partners recognized  that knowledge and resource sharing, resulting from regularly-scheduled resource partners meetings are  an important contribution of PPSP to their schools.

* Numerous activities are happening across the PPSP schools, that were not happening five years ago, providing evidence that a stronger college-going culture has emerged across the schools.

* Strong relationships between and among post-secondary and secondary partners have emerged through a number of different activities including instructional rounds core partner meetings and one-on-one partnerships between higher education and high school partners.

* The Ed Fund’s College Access Program and PPSP are well-aligned to offer a pathway for sustainability of this work.

Key aspects of the model that have gained traction will continue to include and focus on:

* The Postsecondary Success Asset Map: Measures the depth and breadth of existing college supports and services. Learn more about the asset mapping tool.

* Ninth Grade Orientations: Introduces students and parents to local colleges and universities, the college application process, and the essentials of college financial planning.

* Resource Partner Teams: Brings together school staff and community partners to plan whole-school; college-readiness activities; share college access and readiness data; identify gaps in access; and ensure equitable distribution of resources using the College Readiness Indicator System.

* Instructional Rounds: A process during which local high school and college instructional leaders  observe each other’s classrooms and work collaboratively to improve the alignment of instruction between secondary and postsecondary education.

An annual Spring Institute: Provides a forum for high school and college faculty to build on what was learned from the Instructional Rounds, share data, and develop action steps that support a  student’s ability to be successful in a postsecondary setting.

Learn more about the instructional rounds and the Spring Institute.